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Rebecca Wayman

Leeds City Region plans to exceed current post-Brexit funding to support local growth

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership is calling for post-Brexit funding for local economic growth to exceed existing domestic and EU funding allocations for the city.

This would mean that more control of funding decisions are in local hands.

The government has announced the creation of a new UK Shared Prosperity Funding after Brexit, using funding repatriated from the EU.

The LEP is making the case that this should be made available to local areas as a single funding pot, ensuring investment is properly targeted to meet local needs.

The Leeds City Region currently receives £350m ESIF over six years to promote economic growth, social inclusion and rural development. The region also receives over £100m in Growth Funding annually.

Projects which have been allocated ESIF funding in Leeds City Region since 2014 are forecast to create over 8,000 jobs and support over 10,000 SMEs by 2020.

Roger Marsh OBE, said: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact of ESIF funding in Leeds City Region on our economy and, most importantly, on people’s lives.

“With Brexit only a few months away though, we need some encouraging signals from [the] government about the direction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and assurances that Leeds City Region will be allocated funding which supports our continued prosperity and economic growth.

“Local SMEs make up 99 per cent of the City Region’s business base and it is critical we give the business community as much time as possible to plan, especially in light of uncertainties around the UK Brexit deal.”

In addition, 1,000 businesses will be so-called protected from flooding and 70,000 people across the Leeds City Region will be helped through funding allocated through the European Social Fund to 2020.

Nearly 48,000 of those will be supported to be able to enter employment and over 23,000 people in employment will be supported to progress in the workplace.

The City Region’s ESIF allocation is split into three funding components: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Jolly Sailor Brewery, a family run microbrewery based in Selby, was said to have saved money and increased productivity with support from ERDF.

David Welsh, director of Jolly Sailor Brewery, added: “I am delighted with the support we’ve received from the LEP, it has helped us to save money and increase productivity thanks to a new cask cleaner.

“The LEP team made the whole process simple and easy and I would encourage businesses to pick up the phone and speak to the LEP about the support available to help their business grow.”

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